9to5 Stories September 19, 2013

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With iOS 7, Apple has debuted iTunes Radio, its answer to streaming music services like Rdio, Spotify, and Pandora. It is a free service with some occasional ads. So far the ads have been about advertising cars and iTunes Festival. If you do not want any ads, you can pay twenty-five dollars a year for iTunes Match

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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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9to5 Stories April 19, 2013

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Facebook launches SDK 3.5, Share Dialog, over 80% of top iOS apps/games include Facebook integration

Facebook announced updates regarding mobile today at its Mobile Developer Conference in New York City continuing its effort to transition to a mobile-first platform.

Changes include an improved experience with Facebook Login, easier implementation of Open Graph on mobile, a new Object API and Object Browser, a native Share Dialog and Facebook SDK 3.5 for iOS.

The new Share Dialog allows users in non-Facebook apps to share directly to Facebook without leaving the app.

Facebook says its permissions dialog is 20% faster now.

The social network is encouraging mobile developers to integrate Facebook into their apps as it announced that 81% of the top grossing 100 iOS apps already integrate with Facebook.

(Source: Facebook)

Jonathan Ive gets tribute in Time 100 from Bono

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Nice words in the Time 100 for Apple SVP of Industrial Design Sir Jony from U2 frontman Bono:

Jony Ive is himself classic Apple. Brushed steel, polished glass hardware, complicated software honed to simplicity. His genius is not just his ability to see what others cannot but also how he applies it. To watch him with his workmates in the holy of holies, Apple’s design lab, or on a night out is to observe a very rare esprit de corps. They love their boss, and he loves them. What the competitors don’t seem to understand is you cannot get people this smart to work this hard just for money. Jony is Obi-Wan. His team are Jedi whose nobility depends on the pursuit of greatness over profit, believing the latter will always follow the former, stubbornly passing up near-term good opportunities to pursue great ones in the distance. Jony’s values happen to add value — emotional and financial. It takes a unique alchemy of form and function for millions of people to feel so passionately about the robot in their pocket.

Many more in the Time100 including Samsung’s CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and AAPL stock manipulator David Einhorn.

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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

9to5 Stories April 17, 2013

via techin5.com

via techin5.com

Henry McCracken over at Time has done us all a favor by collecting various data sets that illustrate the state of iOS versus Android.

The data ranges from device marketshare to revenue from app downloads, which presents some stark differences between the two platforms.

We unpack the results below.

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9to5 Stories April 13, 2013

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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9to5 Stories April 12, 2013

Disguised discount on iPhone 4 triples sales in India in less than a week

Four large Apple resellers in India have reported a trebling of iPhone 4 sales in just five days after Apple introduced a trade-in scheme allowing customers to hand in their existing phone as part-payment on an iPhone 4, reports The Times of India.

Customers are offered a minimum Rs7,000 ($128) trade-in on any handset against the Rs26,500 ($486) cost of an iPhone 4. Retailers pay Rs,2000 of this in return for the right to sell the used handset, while Apple pays the Rs5,000 balance. As there appear to be no restrictions on brand, age or condition of the handset used for the trade-in, the move effectively amounts to a disguised discount, and suggests that the much-rumored low-cost iPhone is likely to prove successful.

The move appears to be a further strand in Apple’s push to expand its market share in India after last month’s news that it was trebling the number of franchisees in the country.

9to5 Stories April 11, 2013

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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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.

Tips: Missing alerts? Try the little known Screen Flash alert

Just in case a bouncing icon in your dock or a Sosumi sound from your speakers isn’t enough to catch your attention, this OS X accessibility feature is certain to be just the news flash you need when OS X demands your attention.

Enabling ‘screen flash’ in the Accessibility panel in System Preferences adds an extra layer of alertness to a busy environment by displaying a lighting fast flash across your screen, similar to what you see when snapping a shot in Photo Booth.

You can test out the screen flash before enabling the feature, and personally I found the experience to be quite jarring, but it  certainly can be a handy accessibility feature and could be a useful tool for your workflow.

You can also do similar on the iPhone: Settings > General > Accessibility > LED Flash for Alerts.

Have any helpful tips and tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments!

Real Racing 3 iOS app updated with vehicles from Chevy, 100+ new events, cloud save, much more

While the highly anticipated Real Racing 3 from EA received a lot of press when it first launched back in February, much of it was negative attention due to developer Firemonkey’s decision opt for an in-app purchase, freemium model. Despite that, Real Racing 3 is considered one of the top racing games for iOS devices, and today it receives a massive update bringing new vehicles, events, and game modes to the title.

Version 1.1.0 of Real Racing 3 includes the return of vehicles from Chevrolet such as the Chevrolet Cobalt SS and the Camaro ZL1, 100+ new events bringing the total up to over 1,000, and the ability to save to the cloud and transfer saves between devices. The update also brings a new event type called “Hunter!”:

What’s New in Version 1.1.0

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. American fan favorite Chevrolet makes its return to Real Racing! This update features the Chevrolet Cobalt SS and the Camaro ZL1, an all-new Hunter mode, Cloud Save functionality, and 100+ new events! Plus, compare and compete using the new friends leaderboard.

• New manufacturer – Chevrolet! The Cobalt SS and the Camaro ZL1 join the lineup • New event type – Hunter! Chase down the hunted car and overtake within one lap • 100+ new events! Total number of events now exceeds 1,000! • Cloud Save functionality! Transfer your save data between devices • New social features! See who is online and compare how your friends are doing with the statistics leaderboard • Check your TSM mailbox for the latest friend notifications • Improved tutorial and main menu • Numerous additional improvements, fixes, and performance optimizations

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Market tracker IDC says Apple’s Q1 Mac shipments in the US fell 7.5 percent year-on-year, while rival company Gartner says they increased 7.4 percent in the same period. Meantime, the NPD Group – which measures sales rather than shipments – says those are up 14 percent … expand full story

9to5 Stories April 9, 2013

iMessage/FaceTime has been down for about a half hour, Apple just acknowledged it (Update: Fixed)

Update: 8PM ET – Just 4 short hours after we first started hearing issues, iMessage and FaceTime are back

Update: 8:45PM ET – Apple’s status website also saying the issues are resolved

As many have reported on Twitter, iMessage and FaceTime have been down for the past half hour, but Apple just updated its Services Status page. Meanwhile, Apple is aptly offering the opportunity to complete a survey regarding its online Apple Support quality.

9to5 Stories March 28, 2013

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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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