All posts in iPhone

PlayOn Mobile for iPhone Lands in App Store

PlayOn Mobile

September was a landmark month for the App Store, which saw Apple loosen many of their previous restrictions and allow apps that might have otherwise been kicked to the curb in the past. This week, PlayOn Mobile joined the ranks.

TUAW is reporting that PlayOn Mobile for iPhone has been approved and is now available as a free download. Many Mac users may not have heard of PlayOn, since the software is (for now, at least) Windows-based, but it does a great job of pulling video from various websites and streaming it to your HDTV — including TV network sites like CBS.com, who stubbornly remain devoted to Adobe Flash and don’t offer full episodes via iOS devices.

“PlayOn Mobile lets you watch Internet TV on your iPhone,” the app description reads. “You can connect via Wi-Fi or 3G and as long as PlayOn is running on your PC, you can access all PlayOn features.” Prior to the app being approved, the company provided an HTML5 workaround via Mobile Safari to stream content, but that’s no longer necessary with a native app.

While the PlayOn Mobile app is free, the Windows-based software that drives the streaming is not — you’ll have to pay .99 for the first year and .99 for each additional year, or you have the option of plunking down .99 for a lifetime subscription.

So what makes PlayOn so great? The long list of content providers, many of which otherwise aren’t available on iOS devices, such as Comedy Central and the aforementioned CBS. You’ll also get one-stop access to MLB.tv, Netflix, Hulu and many others as well, which makes PlayOn Mobile an attractive option.

PlayOn Mobile is available now as a free download from the App Store and requires iOS 3.0 or later. It’s compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, although the app is not yet universal for optimal playback on the iPad.

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

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Moleskine Covers For iPhone & iPad Now Avaialable

Attention hipsters: Your iOS device case has arrived! Moleskine–purveyors of fine paper products enjoyed around the world–has made yet another decidedly device-centric attempt to increase their stranglehold on the hearts and minds of the scribbling public. A few months ago, we bore witness to the company’s first foray into the tech world with what they’ve opted to call an analog-digital hybrid: A Kindle cover that, in addition to providing some stylish protection to Amazon’s one-trick pony e-book reader, also offers Moleskine aficionados the ability to keep the company’s signature creamy off-white paper close at hand by building a notepad right into the case’s cover. As of this morning, Apple device users have also been extended the ability to add a bit of class to their iPhone 3G/3GS as Moleskine has announced the addition of cases for your cherished iOS devices to their covet-worthy Folio Digital product line.

In Moleskine’s own words:

“The features and style of both Covers are those of a classic Moleskine notebook: sleek rounded corners, strong elastic band, and the legendary smooth black cover. Inside, a lighter suede lining protects the electronic device against impact and scratches, alongside a Volant notebook with plain pages. The Smartphone Cover is mainly conceived to be used with Bluetooth, headphones or loud speaker”

Looking to the pictures accompanying the products press release, we have to say that it looks pretty snazzy, although not all that protective. If you’re not a Moleskine purist and want to pimp out your iPad with something that offers perhaps a bit more protection, you may wish to consider cases from Dodocase or Pad&Quill as well.

 

Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter.

 


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Chinese iPhone 4 Comes with Crippled Maps App

Chinese Google Maps altered
(Images courtesy of Ogle Earth)

By all accounts, the iPhone 4 launch in China last weekend was an unqualified success — but there appears to be at least one element of the new device that is disturbingly crippled.

Ogle Earth is reporting that a new iPhone 4 officially purchased in China comes with “an aggravating quirk” in the Maps app: It appears to be hard-wired to Google Maps’ censored data for the Chinese government, with an altered version of the country’s borders.

As you can see in the screen capture above, the “quirk” means that the Chinese government can essentially claim disputed territory as their own — in this case the Arunachal Pradesh region which is currently under dispute by China and neighboring India (as seen in the second image below). Despite the fact that the region is presently administered by India, on the Chinese version of Google Maps, it’s clearly part of China.

Chinese Google Maps unalteredIt turns out that the same quirk existed with the previous iPhone 3GS, where Google Maps has a censored dataset for the Chinese government. However, one could get around that problem by going online with a VPN, which then show the correct map and properly displayed Arunachal Pradesh as a disputed region.

So how is the new Chinese iPhone 4 different? Apparently Google Maps is now hardwired to the device somehow, meaning the censored map data appears whether you’re using a VPN or not.

The real question now is, did Apple voluntarily allow the Chinese government to cripple its Maps app in order to appease the powers that be? It wouldn’t be the first time Cupertino has had to do so — as Ogle Earth notes, the original iPhone in Egypt had the GPS receiver removed entirely to comply with a local ban, and most everyone knows that the first Chinese iPhone 3GS was released without Wi-Fi to get around restrictions there.

Turns out that there is a way around the crippled Maps issue: “I’ve now buried the Maps app in an obscure folder, and instead replaced the icon with a direct link to maps.google.com, whose mobile-enabled mapping template is just great,” Ogle Earth writes. “Compared with Apple’s app, it serves up a reality-based map in China even without VPN, has much better search (with suggestions) and content such as Wikipedia and Panoramio photos. (Directions are lacking the mobile version, though.)”

Ogle Earth also suggests using Google Earth, “which looks simply awesome on the iPhone 4’s screen.”

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

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iPhone 4 Selling Out in China

iPhone 4 demand in China
(Image courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Apple releases a new iPhone model and the demand almost immediately overwhelms the actual supply. This time, however, the location isn’t the U.S. but rather China, where the device went on sale over the weekend and crowds swarmed in to get one.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on what looks to be a boffo iPhone 4 launch in China, particularly when compared to last year’s initial launch of the iPhone 3GS sans Wi-Fi. Carrier China Unicom appears to have quickly sold out of their initial shipment of iPhone 4 units, but says that more are on the way soon.

Saturday marked the official launch of the new handset, and China Unicom had received more than 200,000 iPhone 4 preorders prior to launch, with another 40,000 customers coming out on launch day to get the device and a bundled service plan. It took China Unicom six weeks to sell only 100,000 handsets after the previous model launched last October.

The iPhone is exclusive to China Unicom, who could use the leg up to fend off competitors China Mobile Ltd. and China Telecom Corp. as the trio rush to beef up their 3G subscriber base — and the more expensive devices and data plans required to use the service.

Apple claims that more iPhone 4 units are on the way to Chinese customers, especially as the company narrows the gap between release dates internationally. It took Apple 28 months to introduce an iPhone in China after the original debuted in the U.S. in 2007, but the iPhone 4 arrives only three months after its introduction here — and only five months for the newer iPad, which went on sale in China earlier this month.

The iPhone 4 launch also capitalized on the opening of two new Apple Stores in the country, and plans to ramp up to 25 such stores by the end of 2011.

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

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Video: Using Your iPhone to Pay for the Subway

Visa payWave with iPhone
(Image and video courtesy of Mashable)

If you need more evidence that we’re living in the future, check out the video below from Visa, who has started a test program in New York City which allows subway riders to pay their fares with nothing more than your iPhone.

Mashable is reporting that New York City is the latest hot spot getting a pilot program to test out Visa’s payWave system using the iPhone. With the New York City Transit, NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey all on board, it means that you can now pay your subway, bus and train fares right from the iPhone itself — no cash, plastic or Metro card required.

Visa’s demo video shows that travelers pass by the payment terminal with a simple wave of their device in front of a contact-free reader. The payWave system requires the smartphone to be equipped with a sensor in order to transmit the payment information, and Visa is also working with Bank of America to expand the system to other retailers in New York City as well.

If you don’t happen to live or work in Manhattan, fear not: Visa is currently working with the L.A. Metro to expand the trial to the west coast, using TAP ReadyCARD dual-use prepaid Visa cards, which act as both transit tickets and Visa debit cards (no iPhone use there just yet, it appears). Visa payWave is already international, with the payment processor already installing the technology in Kuala Lampur, Singapore, Paris, Istanbul and London.

For now, the New York City subway test is only installed at 28 stops along the Lexington line, but a successful trial period will likely expand its reach to even more places in the future.

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

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Four Augmented Reality Apps You Actually Want on Your iPhone

augmented reality

Augmented reality. It’s that future tech we’ve all been waiting for–point your phone at something in the real world, and gain all the cyber knowledge the interwebs can provide. Wondering what species of tree you’re looking at? Just direct your iPhone camera to it, and Wikipedia fills you in with a textual overlay.

Unfortunately, the technology still has plenty of kinks to work out. Most AR apps are gimmicks, offer super niche utility, or just don’t work very wel. But we have to admit, it is getting better with every update. The App Store has some pretty neat augmented reality offerings that take great advantage of the iPhone’s geolocation abilities.

Of course with the neat comes the not so neat too, so we at Mac|Life have done you the service of sifting out the junk. We’ve gone through just about every augmented reality app we could find, and here are our four favorites. They may not be the first apps you think of when you think about augmented reality, but they’re actually useful. In fact, we’d say they’re the best. And, iPhone 4 users, they’re all updated for viewing on that gorgeous Retina Display.


1. Acrossair

acrossair
All these places are across the street, but on the same block.

Acrossair has been doing augmented reality on the iPhone for a while now, including apps for places, Wikipedia entries, and public transit. Until now, all these apps were .99 each. But, lucky for us, the company has wised up a bit and released their newest AR app, simply titled Acrossair, for free.

Acrossair combines just about every database you might use for augmented reality purposes, dwarfing previous contenders in the augmented reality game, like Stella Artois’ bar guide (included in Acrossair), Panoramio, and even Layar (more “layers” and a better interface than this competitor). You can also check out Tweets, Flickr uploads, YouTube videos, and a whole lot more of what’s been posted or exists around you.

Acrossair’s display isn’t perfect, but it does overlay information accurately within about 200 feet. Well, sort of. It pretty much gets you within the block. But, if you’re looking for a full augmented reality browser that’s easy and intuitive to use, Acrossair is a great start. Did we mention that it’s free?


2. Yelp

yelp monocle
Yelp’s labeling is spot-on, without any waving your arms around nonsense.

We know what you’re thinking: isn’t Yelp about reviews, not augmented reality? It is about reviews, but its augmented reality add-on, the Yelp monocle, is pretty handy. Acrossair might overlay Yelp information, but we think the Yelp app does it even better. Results overlay more accurately, and with less twitch. And, with Yelp’s gigantic database, you’ll get results for just about any business you’re looking at, not just restaurants.

It’s extra helpful that links take you right to Yelp reviews within the app. Use Yelp, but haven’t found the monocle? Go to the “nearby” tab and it’s in the upper right hand corner. It’s definitely augmented reality on the iPhone at its best, especially because it’s free, you probably already use the app anyway, and it has some serious functionality! Get it here.


3. Spyglass


Imagine this overlay somewhere else–like Yosemite National park or Burning Man.

If you can learn how to use it, Spyglass is perhaps the best example of actual augmented reality in the app store. The app is essentially an augmented reality tracker, with loads of other information. For all you outdoorsy types, this navigation tool has a compass, constant bearings, sun, moon, and star locations, rangefinder, angular calculator, inclinometer, maps, and more. And, it lets you track and find GPS locations of your choosing. Lost your campsite? No problem. Though remember to use Spyglass to record your location first.

Not the outdoorsy type? Spyglass’ compass still holds something for you. Have a hard time remembering where you parked? Use Spyglass to keep track of it. Visiting a new place and want an easy tool to help you navigate? Plot restaurants and shops, and you won’t get lost. It’s handy that you can target multiple locations, and that they’re marked by different icons. And, if you want to feel like a super sleuth, use one of the in built HUD color filters (green or red are both good choices).

Spyglass packs in a ton of features, is cleanly designed, and its applications are only limited by the creativity of the user. With that said, it’s also a bit of a challenge to figure out–all those numbers can be a little overwhelming. But if you can get over the slight learning curve, this is an app well worth your .99!


4. Star Walk

star walk
There aren’t a lot of stars up there, but the arrow accurately points to the direction of the moon above.

Star Walk is last, but not least, on our list, and that’s only because some people will say that it isn’t quite augmented reality. But, it’s a great app that serves the exact same function as AR, so we’re keeping it on the list.  The app, for those who aren’t familiar with it, charts the night sky, showing users names of stars, planets, and constellations.

So where does the augmented reality come in? Activate Star Walk’s “star spotter” by pointing your phone’s camera to the sky. Star Walk will display exactly what you’re looking at, complete with labels. Looking for something specific? Select a constellation and Star Walk will point you in the right direction.

If you’re a hardcore augmented reality fan, it might be disappointing that Star Walk doesn’t overlay the information on camera input that reflects what you’re actually seeing. But for those of us in a city, or a foggy place like San Francisco, Star Walk’s representation of what’s actually in the sky is infinitely more useful. Not to mention, Star Walk doesn’t suffer from the tweaking out that many other AR apps do, and it runs super smoothly. If you’ve got any astronomical curiosity, be sure to check it out–it’s just .99.

So there you have it, the four best implementations of augmented reality in the app store. Disagree with us and think something else should be on the list? Let us know in the comments!

Follow this article’s author, Ambika Subramony, on Twitter.

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Free iPhone 4 Case Program Ends September 30

 

If you’re considering the purchase of an iPhone 4 in the next few weeks, we’ve got some news that might make you want to hustle to your nearest Apple or AT&T Store. The Apple iPhone 4 Case Program is winding down at the end of the month. That’s right: on September 30, the “antenna gate” free case extravaganza will be no more. For those of you who missed out on all of the action this past sunny summer, Apple launched the iPhone 4 Case Program in response to media and consumer furor over alleged reception problems arising from the iPhone 4’s integrated antenna design. When the handset was held in a particular manner known as the “Death Grip,” many users reported significant signal loss. Apple’s solution to this was to offer free cases to iPhone 4 users.

If you’re planning on picking up a free case before the deadline, all you need do is prove to Apple that you purchased your phone before the end of September. Easy, right? Sadly, those of you who bought your iPhone before July 23rd and wanted to pick up a case on Apple’s tab are out of luck: the cut off for early adopters was August 22. Good luck and happy case hunting!

 

 

 

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Free iPhone 4 Case Program Ends September 30th

 

If you’re considering the purchase of an iPhone 4 in the next few weeks, we’ve got some news that might make you want to hustle to your nearest Apple or AT&T Store. The Apple iPhone 4 Case Program is winding down at the end of the month. That’s right: on September 30, the “antenna gate” free case extravaganza will be no more. For those of you who missed out on all of the action this past sunny summer, Apple launched the iPhone 4 Case Program in response to media and consumer furor over alleged reception problems arising from the iPhone 4’s integrated antenna design. When the handset was held in a particular manner known as the “Death Grip,” many users reported significant signal loss. Apple’s solution to this was to offer free cases to iPhone 4 users.

If you’re planning on picking up a free case before the deadline, all you need do is prove to Apple that you purchased your phone before the end of September. Easy, right? Sadly, those of you who bought your iPhone before July 23rd and wanted to pick up a case on Apple’s tab are out of luck: the cut off for early adopters was August 22. Good luck and happy case hunting!

 

 

 

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Microsoft Throws A "Funeral" For The iPhone

iphonefuneral

(Image courtesy of Endgadget)

Is it a case of creativity?  Perhaps.  Or is it more that the crew at Microsoft have way too much time on their hands?  Maybe.  Either way, Redmond and Co. decided to live up the Windows Phone 7 reaching RTM status by actually throwing a funeral complete with procession for the iPhone and the Blackberry.

The very decked out parade came with hearses and black capes, and had been organized last week to recognize the “passing” of the BlackBerry and iPhone into the land of unwanted gadgets. 

The group also apparently decided to get their dance moves on to Thriller.  Check it out below.

 

So what do you think readers?  Is this a case of awesome creativity, or merely poor taste?  Feel free to leave some comments below!

via Endgadget

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter

 

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New Mystery Apple Patent Could Make Your Next iPhone Bulletproof

Apple composite laminate patent
(Image courtesy of Patently Apple)

The best way to keep tabs on what Apple might be cooking up next is to keep an eye on all of the new inventions they file for patents on. One of the latest is a patent for an improved composite laminate that could someday make future devices practically bulletproof.

Patently Apple is reporting that Apple has recently won the patent for an improved composite laminate, which the website claims “could consist of a wide range of materials including glass, synthetics, metals (such as aluminum or titanium) or even epoxy.” The patent doesn’t reveal exactly what Apple plans to do, but the website notes that such material is commonly used in “real-world products ranging from an iPad cover to all manner of sporting equipment such as golf clubs, baseball bats, canoes, bikes, skateboards and more.”

According to Wikipedia, the use of such materials could even be used to make a portable device literally bulletproof, which certainly makes us imagine that Apple CEO Steve Jobs could be living some kind of Batman-esque dual life. (Would that make the iPhone his Bat-Phone?)

Unfortunately Patently Apple chooses to theorize a much more down-to-Earth scenario. “Apple could also be rethinking their use of polycarbonates in their MacBook for a much lighter material and using the sandwich method as shown above,” they propose. “Hmm, who knows — maybe the new Apple TV is already using one of the material variants. I haven’t been able to find out exactly what they’re using. Is it a thermosetting plastic as mentioned in this patent?”

As is often the case with patents such as this, only time will tell.

“Where and how Apple will end up using this material is unknown at this time — simply because of the wide range of products that Apple could apply this to — including future wearable computers,” Patently Apple concludes. “In time, we’ll be sure to hear about this material as it comes to market in some surprising way. For now, all we know for certain is that Apple has been granted a patent for an improved cosmetic surface regarding this material and that it’s paved the way for Apple to now bring it to market.”

Now all that Cupertino needs is a Bat-Signal to announce Apple’s next media event and they’ll be all set…

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

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