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Thursday Recap: iFixit Guts iPad, PayPal Here, Retina App Updates, Hulu Gets Big

iFixit teardown: The new iPadThere’s something in the air that we can’t quite put our finger on. Could it be the reports of new Apple TV buyers receiving their preorders a day early? Or the new iPad launch kicking off in other parts of the world where it’s already Friday? Perhaps the tingle we’re feeling at every truck that drives past our door, hoping maybe, by some miracle, the new iPad will arrive early as well? It’s probably all of the above, because it’s one of those kind of days… as in, Thursday, March 15, 2012.

iFixit Heads to Australia for Live New iPad Teardown

It must be Friday 8am somewhere, right? That means it’s time for an iFixit teardown of Apple’s new iPad, which commenced virtually in real time today. Wait a second: How did they already get an iPad, you may ask? Well, the day has already passed in the land down under (i.e., Australia), which is where the iFixit team flew to be among the first to grab the new Retina Display-equipped iPad and put it under the knife. There hasn’t been too many shockers: The display is supplied by Samsung, and most of the leaked parts we’ve seen over the last several weeks match what’s actually inside this sucker. Last we checked, the team was still examining the new iPad, so be sure to check back for the full teardown, and follow iFixit on Twitter to be prepared for the next teardown.

PayPal Here Aims to Make Small Business Mobile

It can’t all be about the new iPad today, and sure enough, The PayPal Blog has announced the company’s new mobile payment initiative, PayPal Here. Billed as “the world’s first global mobile payment solution that allows small businesses to accept almost any form of payment,” PayPal Here features a triangular dongle (opposed to competitor Square’s square one… get it?), but also provides a number of other payment options as well. “[Merchants] can accept payments by swiping cards with a fully encrypted thumb-sized card reader, or use a phone camera to scan and process cards and checks,” the blog notes. “It also allows them to invoice directly from the mobile app and, of course, accept PayPal in a brand new way.” Transactions have a simple flat rate of 2.7 percent for card swipes and PayPal payments, and businesses will have a debit card available for quick access to funds which nets one percent cash back on eligible purchases. PayPal Here is rolling out today for select merchants in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, opening its doors to all takers next month, with more to come. Interested merchants can sign up to be notified when the service goes wide on the PayPal website.

iStopMotion for iPad Updated for New iPad Support

Boinx Software announced a major new update to iStopMotion for iPad, its award-winning iOS app for creating stop-motion and time lapse videos. As you can well imagine, the new five megapixel rear camera on the new iPad — capable of 1080p video recording — will make an ideal companion to iStopMotion 1.2. And hey, those new videos will look fantastic on that Retina Display now that the app has been optimized especially for it with this version! “The new iPad is the dream machine for running iStopMotion for iPad 1.2,” said Oliver Breidenbach, CEO, Boinx Software. “The much improved optics of the built-in camera make for much nicer image quality, the improved performance of the new iPad allows us to support full 1080 HD formats, and the app just looks gorgeous on the Retina display.” If you haven’t grabbed iStopMotion for iPad, version 1.2 is now in the App Store at a special introductory price of only .99 through Saturday, March 17 (the price goes back to .99 on Sunday, March 18).

Hulu Super-Sizes Web-Based Video Player

Streaming service Hulu hasn’t updated their Hulu Plus iOS app for Retina Display quite yet, but the company’s blog did have a little announcement today that’s bound to please those who still watch video at their computer. “I’m pleased to present to you our beautiful, new Hulu video player. Your favorite shows just got bigger,” Hulu product director Varun Narang writes on the Hulu Blog. “Today, we replaced our old video player with an update that’s 55 percent larger. It has a new frame and a drop shadow and sits on top of a large, dark gray video matte for easy viewing. We moved all of the video details below the player and cleaned up the pattern and style for a cleaner, crisper look.” We checked it out and it’s definitely welcome on our 30-inch monitor here at the MacLife.com Newsdesk, and just in time for Community to return to the airwaves tonight, too! Thanks, Hulu!

Retinal Armageddon: Evernote, Skitch, Amazon Kindle Apps Updated

While you’re waiting for that shiny new iPad to show up tomorrow, you might want to hit the App Store, which is quickly filling up with a whole lot of Retina Display-enabled app updates. Among them are two favorites from Evernote, including version 4.1.9 of the company’s flagship app as well a new build of Skitch for iPad. Aside from Retina optimization on both, Evernote adds better checkboxes and text editing for the iPad, suggested note titles for all devices and a lot of bug fixes, while Skitch for iPad 1.0.4 brings smoother transitions for screen changes and device rotation as well as an improved screenshot mode. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS has just been bumped to version 3.0, just in the nick of time for the new i
Pad. Along with optimizations for the new iPad’s Retina Display, the app introduces a slick new library design, plus a cloud view reminiscent of the e-tailer’s Kindle Fire UI, which displays all of your available ebooks for download. You know where to find ‘em, so hit the links and get downloading!

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Law & Apple: Apple Gets a Swat from Italy, While Germany Looks at Another Win

Law & Apple

Europe is the focus of the past week’s legal events for Apple, with a swift slap on the wrist from Italy and another small but significant victory in Germany looming on the horizon. As the courtroom rulings begin to line up in Apple’s favor, are we beginning to see the formation of a larger legal strategy for Cupertino?

Cue up the “dun dun” and read on for this week’s Law and Apple, European Style!

Italy vs. Apple

Yesterday, Italy’s antitrust body fined Apple .2 million (900,000 euros) for encouraging customers to buy AppleCare Protection Plan extended warranties without fully explaining that, under Italian law, the products already come with an extended two-year warranty.

The ruling states that three divisions of Apple — Apple Italia, Apple Sales International, and Apple Retail Italia — will be fined 400,000 euros for failing to inform customers of their right to two-years of free support, and fined 500,000 euros for selling the AppleCare service to those customers.

AppleCare

Great coverage. Even greater when it’s free.

Apple famously offers customers a full one-year (90-days telephone support and 1-year limited warranty) of support in the U.S., and the AppleCare Protection Plan extends that umbrella for an additional year. Apple is traditionally very generous with product support for customers under warranty, so the extended plans are very popular. However, as Italy mandates a minimum two-years of full coverage, selling AppleCare extended warranties that overlapped what was required by law was not viewed kindly by the court. Apple continues to be very active in the European courtroom, including ongoing legal battles against rivals like Samsung and Motorola, as well as scrutiny from the courts themselves with regard to alleged price-fixing with ebook publishers.

Apple vs. Motorola

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents reports that a Munich court is likely rule in favor of Apple next February on lawsuits brought by Cupertino against Motorola in Germany. The ruling may lead to an injunction against Motorola products that use a specific method for flipping pages within a gallery of photos.

According to Mueller, the German court does not doubt the validity of the European patent (EP2059868), and is even more convinced at the conclusion of two preliminary hearings last week that the Android photo gallery is violating that patent.

Android Photo Gallery

Android will likely have to modify the way it flips photos.

Motorola appears positioned to modify its devices if an injunction is awarded to Apple, much the same way Samsung did in October. Apple seems to be accepting these forced modifications as minor, yet important, victories within a long-term legal strategy. While these rulings are not the “knock-out blows” that many have been waiting for, it appears Cupertino is happy to have Android devices forced to cease infringing on Apple innovations and remain available to customers in a modified format, rather than have the devices removed from the marketplace altogether. It is an expensive strategy, one that continues to chip away at Apple’s massive cash reserve, and perhaps that is part of the long-term strategy for Apple’s competition.

 

Adrian writes the weekly Law & Apple column for MacLife.com. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to him on Facebook, if you want to.

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iPhone 4S Gets Chatty Thanks To New Siri Voice Control

iPhone 4S with SiriAs awesome as the new iPhone 4S looks, there’s just one more thing that senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller left out of his keynote — and it’s at the heart of the company’s “Let’s talk iPhone” invitation.

After introducing the souped-up new iPhone 4S, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, launched into “one more thing” by introducing Siri, the company’s new intelligent assistant “that helps you get things done just by asking.”

“Siri on iPhone 4S lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more,” Apple explains on their website. “Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. Siri is so easy to use and does so much, you’ll keep finding more and more ways to use it.”

Of course, it’s widely known that Apple purchased Siri technology and the inclusion of it into the iPhone 4S isn’t much of a surprise — for once, the rumors pegged it quite well indeed. Schiller touted Siri as a way for their devices to answer your questions without a lot of unwieldy lingo or restrictive jargon.

“What is the weather like today?” is one such question posed at the keynote, which the handset proceeds to respond, “Here is the forecast for today.” (Sunny with a high of 70 degrees for Cupertino, by the way.)

Senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall returned to the stage for a demo of how Siri works — simply hold down the home button and Siri begins to listen. “What is the hourly forecast?” is followed by “Do I need a raincoat today?” — to which Siri responds, “It sure looks like rain today.”

Of course, Siri also extends to finding out the time, setting an alarm, getting stock quotes, finding “a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto” or even getting directions courtesy of the built-in Maps app. Siri is also intelligent enough to read back incoming messages, aiding users in replying as well — or even setting up a calendar appointment or reminder.

Apple considers Siri a beta service for now, and it will only included with the iPhone 4S for English (U.S., U.K. and Australia), French and German languages for now. The iPhone 4S will be available starting on October 14, rolling out to 70 countries by the end of this year.

Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event wrapped up this morning with announcements of a refreshed iPod nano and iPod touch, iOS 5 and iCloud arriving on October 12 and the new iPhone 4S hitting stores on October 14, with Sprint added as a third U.S. carrier and a 64GB model available for the first time at 9 with two-year agreement.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Law & Apple: Samsung Gets Backup and Apple Finally Wins the Clone Wars

Law and Apple

In this week’s Law and Apple, Samsung makes an offer that Apple can’t refuse (but does), and T-Mobile decides to join forces with Verizon and support Samsung. Hey, what do they care? it’s not like they have the iPhone, right?

And finally, we’ll recap the thrilling conclusion of the Clone Wars. It’s like the Star Wars Clone Wars but with fewer fanboys and no Ewan McGregor.

Apple vs. Samsung: Offer Rejected

Reuters reports that Apple rejected an offer from Samsung to withdraw two of the three disputed features from the Galaxy 10.1. Apple rejected the offer, telling the Federal Court in Sydney that Samsung’s offer provided no basis for a settlement. If the company would have accepted, it would have brought a quick close to the ongoing Australian lawsuit.

Offer Rejected 

Samsung: “Please, sir?” Cupertino: “No dice.”

Samsung is desperate to get the Galaxy on Australian retail shelves, having originally planned on a late August or early September launch.  The company claims that if it cannot launch the Galaxy in Australia within the next two weeks, it will miss the holiday shopping window and the product will be “commercially dead” Down Under.

Apple stated that it still wanted the court to rule on its claim that the Samsung Galaxy infringed on Apple patents. The Australian lawsuit seems to favor Cupertino, which will help other lawsuits against Samsung worldwide. We suspect, however, that they would not mind if the Australian court took their time over the next few months.

Apple vs. Samsung: T-Mobile Supports Samsung

Last week, we covered Verizon’s filing of a curiae brief in Northern California District Court in support of Samsung. Today, T-Mobile teamed up with opposing forces and filed a similar brief. What’s peculiar is that this is just one day after it was announced that it would be Sprint — and not T-Mobile — that would be getting the iPhone.

T-Mobile Plan

Oh, so you think Sprint is hot? Fine. We’ll go with Verizon and Samsung then.

It is rare for two amicus curiae briefs in one intellectual property case, but this kind of move is a prime example of how important this case will be for the industry. There is the potential that the court could place a preliminary injunction banning imports of Samsung products. T-Mobile wrote in the brief that the company “respects intellectual property rights and believes that owners of intellectual property deserve their day in court.”

The case, 11-cv-01846-LHK “Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al”, is scheduled to be heard by Judge Koh on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 1:30 p.m. The day before the iPhone 4S is expected to go on sale.

Apple vs. Psystar: The Clone War Ends

Last week Apple saw closure to a legal battle it has been fighting for years against Psystar. A unanimous three-judge ruling in California’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that Apple can stop other companies from selling Mac clones.

Psystar had been selling laptops and desktop computers running OS X, including the original OpenMac for 9 and the later Open(Q) for 9. The clones were sold with OS X installed, and Psystar attempted to get around copyright law by including an authorized copy of the software and claiming Apple was refusing to let people use software they purchased validly.

Or, as a Psystar employee summed it up, “What if Honda said that, after you buy their car, you only drive it on the roads they said you could?”

Psystar Ends

Do not underestimate the power of legal precedent.

The court reaffirmed that users of software like OS X do not actually own the software but use it in accordance with a license from Apple. Which was basically how intellectual property protection for software works.

There was no shortage of legal precedent to support the court in reaching this decision.

 

Adrian writes the weekly Law & Apple column for MacLife.com. You can follow him on Twitter, if you want to.

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The Dark Meadow Gets Launch Trailer, Coming October 6

Phosphor Games has announced that its bizarre, atmospheric new iOS game, The Dark Meadow, is nearing release. In about ten days time we’ll finally have our hands on the spooky-looking new adventure game, but for now we’ll have to make do with this new trailer.

Apparently the game was inspired by a myriad of influences from Guillermo Del Toro’s atmospheric Pan’s Labyrinth to Epic Game’s classic iOS title, Infinity Blade. Judging from the trailer, the former seems more appropriate than the latter.

We’re very much looking forward to exploring The Dark Meadow’s creepy (super creepy, actually) abandoned hospital. Check out the trailer below, and look forward to the game’s release on October 6th.

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The Dark Meadow Gets Launch Trailer, Coming October 6th

Phosphor Games has announced that it’s bizarre, atmospheric new iOS game, The Dark Meadow, is nearing release. In about ten days time we’ll finally have our hands on the spooky-looking new adventure game, but for now we’ll have to make do with this new trailer.

Apparently the game was inspired by a myriad of influences from Guillermo Del Toro’s atmospheric Pan’s Labyrinthe to Epic Game’s classic iOS title Infinity Blade. Judging from the trailer, the former seems more appropriate than the latter.

We’re very much looking forward to exploring The Dark Meadow’s creepy (super creepy, actually) abandoned hospital. Check out the trailer below, and look forward to the game’s release on October 6th.

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Plants vs. Zombies iPhone Gets Big Update, More Braaaaiiiins

PopCap Games has announced today that they are rolling out a big new update for Plants vs. Zombies that will allow players to buy or earn coins that will purchase a set of minigames.

The minigames were previously available in the PC/Mac version of the game, and are now available on iOS for the first time. The minigames will come in three sets of three games, and will be bought with coins that you earn from the Zen Garden or during normal play. Though if you don’t feel like grinding to get extra coins you can also just buy coins as an in-app purchase.

New minigames will include: (From the press release)

-Walnut Bowling 2: Knock ‘em dead in this killer twist to an old favorite sport.

-Seeing Stars: Unravel the mystery of the star-shaped pattern.

-Bobsled Bonanza: Melt the ice and defeat bobsledders and Zombonis in this frosty battle.

-Invisi-Ghoul: Test your prowess to take on invisible zombies.

-Last Stand: Not your average day at the pool!

-ZomBotany 2: Hybrid zombies sport plant heads and abilities to up the challenge ante.

-Beghouled Twist: An homage to Bejeweled Twist™, this mash-up requires match-3 skill.

-Pogo Party: Crash the pogo party of your roof!

-Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick: Get ready to move faster than ever!

The new update will also include all-new Game Center achievements for many of the new games. The new minigame packs can be accessed from Crazy Dave’s Store inside Plants vs. Zombies.

 

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Google Music Gets an iOS Web App

Google today pushed a new release of its HTML 5 equipped web app for iOS users. The Google Music Beta player works with mobile Safari for iOS 4 users and it isn’t so bad after all. It’s smooth looking and works impeccably, though you’ll have to allow it 25 MB of space. You can play any of your songs in your library, shuffle and search within your cloud library. It’s also got multitasking enabled so that you can listen to music while accessing other apps. Unfortunately, this means that you still can’t download the music within the app and access it offline.

Officially, Google has not made a statement about a native iOS app. But this is a definite upgrade from the last version of the browser-enabled Google Music. At least this one looks like it’s catered to iPhone users.

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Plants vs Zombies iPhone Gets Big Update

PopCap Games has announced today that they are rolling out a big new update for Plants vs Zombies that will allow players to buy or earn coins that will purchase a set of minigames.

The minigames were previously available in the PC/Mac version of the game, and are now available on iOS for the first time. The minigames will come in three sets of three games, and will be bought with coins that you earn from the Zen Garden or during normal play. Though if you don’t feel like grinding to get extra coins you can also just buy coins as an in-app purchase.

New minigames will include: (From the press release)

-Walnut Bowling 2: Knock ‘em dead in this killer twist to an old favorite sport.
-Seeing Stars: Unravel the mystery of the star-shaped pattern.
-Bobsled Bonanza: Melt the ice and defeat bobsledders and Zombonis in this frosty battle.
-Invisi-Ghoul: Test your prowess to take on invisible zombies.
-Last Stand: Not your average day at the pool!
-ZomBotany 2: Hybrid zombies sport plant heads and abilities to up the challenge ante.
-Beghouled Twist: An homage to Bejeweled Twist™, this mash-up requires match-3 skill.
-Pogo Party: Crash the pogo party of your roof!
-Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick: Get ready to move faster than ever!

The new update will also include all-new Game Center achievements for many of the new games. The new minigame packs can be accessed from Crazy Dave’s Store inside PvZ.

 

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Development Team Gets HP TouchPad Running Android

Android on TouchPadMaybe you were an early adopter and just had to have the newest iPad-killer when it was released, or maybe you are someone who just couldn’t resist the fire sales over the last few weeks; either way, if you have an HP TouchPad, you are probably wondering what you are going to do with it since HP kicked it, and its webOS operating system, to the curb.

According to TechCrunch, there has been a lot of action recently to try and get a version of Android working on the device, and apparently the CyanogenMod team has done it.

Android appears to have a solid future as an OS, so finding a way to run it on the HP TouchPad would give users a way to extend the life of the device.  Android would allow for future updates, apps, and all the stuff that comes with having an Android device. Which, clearly at this point, would have to be preferable to having a webOS device.

CyanogenMod released a public statement and video announcing they now have an alpha version of the CyanogenMod 7 firmware running on the TouchPad. CyanogenMod is an extremely popular aftermarket firmware for Android operating systems. According to TechCrunch, anyone willing to hack their device can have an alternative to the standard Android OS that shipped on their device, including several additional features. CyanogenMod 7 is built on the source code for Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

The end goal for CyanogenMod is to develop a multi-boot platform where a user can choose at boot-up which OS — webOS, CyanogenMod, or something else — to run on their orphaned TouchPad.

Via TechCrunch

(Image produced by TechCrunch)

 

Adrian covers daily news as well as the weekly Law & Apple column for MacLife.com. You can follow him on Twitter, if you want to.

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