March 30, 2012

Tether Releases HTML5 Web App To Allow Tethering From iPhone, No Jailbreak Required

Tether Releases HTML5 Web App To Allow Tethering From iPhone, No Jailbreak Required

An App Store app called iTether got a lot of attention a few months ago for allowing free 3G tethering from any iPhone. Despite the fact that carriers don’t officially support such activity apart from their exuberant data plans, Apple originally approved iTether. The app shot to the top of the charts before it was pulled less than a day later. If you didn’t get your hands on it then, you were out of luck.

The creators of iTether are announcing something big today. Tether is launching a new HTML5 web app for the iPhone that lets you tether your 3G-enabled iPhone or iPad to any wireless-enabled device. No monthly fee. No jailbreak required.

“It was clear from our initial application iTether, there was enormous demand within the iPhone ecosystem,” says Tim Burke, CEO of Tether. “It was unfortunate that Apple decided to remove our application, only 20 hours after we launched. However, this caused us to innovate. Our underlying patent-pending technology behind Tether for iPhone is unlike anything on the market.

Unlike any other tethering solution (unsupported or otherwise) out there, Tether’s new app is entirely web-based. You don’t need to buy the app in the App Store or the jailbreak Cydia store. It creates a wireless connection over AdHoc that any device can connect to.

As part of the launch promotion, the new Tether service will be available for $ 15/year through the end of next week. It will then cost $ 30/year. More information can be found on the Tether website.

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Apple Pulled iTether From The App Store To Keep Carriers Happy

Cult of Mac

Alleged Best Buy inventory leak shows mysterious Sprint iPad listings

By Josh Ong

Published: 08:25 PM EST (05:25 PM PST)
Purported leaked images of Best Buy’s internal inventory system contain mysterious references to a Sprint iPad with what seem to be two-year contract options.

Sprint was noticeably absent from this week’s third-generation iPad announcement, which highlighted 4G LTE providers AT&T and Verizon. The wireless operator later issued a statement saying that it had “nothing to announce at this time” regarding the arrival of the iPad on its network.

However, a new leak from Engadget may hint that preparations are being made for the iPad to become available on Sprint. A tipster sent in photos of Best Buy’s inventory system with 14 separate entries for a “Sprint iPad.” The listings appeared to account for different two-year contract data plans and M2M (machine-to-machine) plans.

In a Frequently Asked Questions page on its M2M site, Sprint currently lists laptops and netbooks and M2M devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Kindle DX as “embedded devices.” The iPad could potentially be classified by the carrier as one such device.

Sprint only recently began offering the iPhone. Apple announced Sprint as a new carrier partner last October with the unveiling of the iPhone 4S.

Of course, even assuming that the leaked photos are accurate, it should be noted that they hardly serve as confirmation of either Sprint’s, or Apple’s, plans. One possibility, however, is that the two companies are waiting for Sprint to get its LTE network off the ground before it begins selling the third-generation iPad. The carrier announced at the start of this year that it is planning on launching LTE first in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and several other smaller markets by mid-2012.

Rivals Verizon and AT&T already have a significant head start on Sprint in the LTE department. Verizon launched its LTE network first and now claims to cover 200 million customers with it. AT&T said it has reached 74 million people with its own LTE network as of the end of last year.

Apple has its work cut out for it in supporting the wide range of LTE frequencies internationally as well. The company is advertising Canadian carriers Rogers, Bell and Telus as its international partners, but the new iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model does not appear to be compatible with European LTE networks.

AppleInsider

Daily iPad App: Circadia hits the right notes

Developer Kurt Bieg, whose new app Circadia is out on the App Store right now, is a former New York City musician. That scene didn’t appeal to him, however, so he decided to try building games. “The way that I write music is arranging things for an experience,” Bieg told me at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week, “and I do that in all my games.”

Circadia is quite an experience. After making a physical card game featuring then almost-president Obama, Bieg got a degree in design and technology, and Circadia is his first release as a professional developer. The basic idea of the game is built around the ripples that appear when you toss a stone into a pond, for example. “What if you tried to do multiple ripples at the same time to try and converge on one spot?” Bieg asked himself. In the game, you’re presented with a series of colored dots on the screen, and the goal is to tap the dots in such a way that the musical rings that emanate from them all cross a certain point at the same moment. It’s a system that, as Bieg says, shows off “simple things that create a larger pattern.”

The game is quite beautiful. I’s very minimalistic, and the sparse music and graphics really bring the music that you create while playing the game to the forefront. As you play along and touch the various dots to send out their musical ripples, you eventually start to get a sense of Bieg’s musical composition, and then you get to hear the real thing when all of the touches and dots finally line up.

The title wasn’t always so quiet, says Bieg — the game started out with what he calls “atrocious skin that was all about cheering someone up. The dots were faces, and everyone was smiling except for the one dot which was frowning.” But he eventually went with something much more simple and clear. He describes one level he created that had two dots moving back and forth with a target dot in the center, and once he finally solved that puzzle for himself, that’s when he “sat up in my desk,” he remembers, “and just freaked out because I was like, I could do 100 levels of this.”

The full game is 99 cents, and it’s definitely worth a download to play through those 100 puzzles. In the future, Bieg is planning to add 25-50 new levels in an update, along with a zen mode, which would allow for an infinite number of generated levels to play with. He’s also thinking of adding more features, like possible some background music, which he first saw as an accident in a trailer for the game. “I felt like it didn’t interfere with the game,” says Bieg. “It just gave context to the notes. I was kind of a fan of that.”

Additionally, Bieg is working on some other titles with other developers that he says we’ll see soon.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Favs For Mac Collects All Your Favorites Into One Place

Favs For Mac Collects All Your Favorites Into One Place

Favs is fantastically useful, and very pretty, too

I favorite things a lot. I star things in Twitter and Google Reader, I like things in Instapaper, and I may or may not have once liked something on Facebook. All of this is for my work, as a way to bookmark stories and facts for later use. Every once in a while I try to work out how to collect them all into one universal inbox, but I never manage it. Now, thanks to the developer of the excellent Essay app for iPad, there’s an app for that. It’s called — appropriately enough — Favs.

Favs is a Mac app which pulls together your various favorites from pretty much anywhere, from Twitter through Instagram to ZooTool. Here’s the full list:

Delicious, Dribbble, Facebook, Flattr, Flickr, Github, Google Reader, Instagram, Instapaper, Pinboard, Readability, Read It Later, StackOverflow, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube and Zootoo.

Phew. Enter your login details for each service (some, like Twitter, don’t require a login as they pull from a public source) and Favs will grab all of your favorites into an inbox. You can filter by source, or just do an instant, in-line search to find what you want. New items show up as unread.

You can also follow other people’s favorites if they are public. This could be creepy or useful. I added Cult of Mac’s Twitter favorites to mine, to keep an eye out for anything useful (tip: if you want to see something funny, check out Cult of Mac’s favorite tweets and scroll down to the 7th one).

I have been trying Favs out for a couple of minutes so far, but I can already see that its going to be a very useful app indeed. It’s also cheap, at just $ 5 on the Mac App Store.

[Thanks, Dirk!]

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Cult of Mac

Daily iPhone App: Cash Lender is great for reminding what you’re owed

It’s the way of things: Someone needs a dollar so they can hit up a vending machine. You spot a friend when they forget metro fare. You help a family member out when a utility is in danger of being cut off. Eventually all those dollars and cents add up, and you realize that a lot of people owe you money.

Cash Lender is designed to remind you (and those you owe you) about those outstanding debts. You can add people to the database, including with photo. When that person asks for 50 cents for a coffee, select that person, add the reason why and the due date, and your iPhone will give you a reminder to collect the debt owed. You can also email a copy of the record to the person you lent money to so they can have a record as well. You can passcode the entries, sync with iCloud and more.

If you constantly lend money out but forget to get back what you’re owed, Cash Lender is a good app to try out. It’s $ 2.99 in the App Store.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPhone tops smartphone sales in Japan for the first time

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 04:34 PM EST (01:34 PM PST)
During the winter quarter, Apple’s iPhone topped smartphone sales in Japan for the first time, with 26.6 percent market share.

According to a report by Mainichi Japan citing numbers published by IDC Japan, the launch of the iPhone 4S dramatically shifted sales numbers, sending first place Sharp into third place during the quarter with 15.7 percent share, and pushing the combined sales of Fujitsu-Toshiba into second place with 18.2 percent share.

Over the entire year, Sharp led sales with 20.1 percent share, followed by Fujitsu-Toshiba at 18.8 percent and Apple at 14.2 percent.

Fujitsu had been making mostly feature phones before announcing a joint venture with Toshiba in June 2010 to build smartphones based on Toshiba’s existing Windows Mobile models.

Last fall, Toshiba announced the intent to bail out of the partnership this year, just after the joint venture delivered the “IS12T” phone running Windows Phone 7, which launched alongside the iPhone 4S on the more popular KDDI network, but failed to have the same impact.

Apple’s blockbuster sales of iPhone 4S in Japan are particularly noteworthy because the company was still exclusively tied to Softbank, the third largest carrier in the country, throughout 2011. Also notable is that just three years ago, Brian X Chen created a story for Wired that portrayed Japan as “hating” the iPhone.

This year, Apple is reported to soon be expanding iPhone availability to KDDI, a CDMA carrier (like Verizon Wireless) in the process of deploying 4G LTE.

The Japanese market is important enough to Apple to make Japanese the first new language Siri has expanded to support in since the launch of iPhone 4S, a feature enhancement Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook noted in presenting iOS 5.1.

AppleInsider

Apple Hints At Free Trials In The App Store With New iTunes Terms And Conditions

Apple Hints At Free Trials In The App Store With New iTunes Terms And Conditions

A recent update to the iTunes Terms and Conditions adds an interesting clause regarding free trials for in-app subscriptions in the iOS App Store. Ever since the launch of the App Store in 2007, users have been clamoring for some kind of demoing system for paid apps. It looks like Apple may be slowly making strides towards that reality.

Publishers “may offer a free trial period” via in-app subscriptions in an iOS app, according to Apple.

Here’s the section in the new iTunes T&C:

Apple Hints At Free Trials In The App Store With New iTunes Terms And Conditions

We were unable to find any apps or publishers that implement this system for in-app free trials at the time of this writing.

Based on Apple’s wording, it looks like this feature is initially for magazine and newspaper publishers, as “certain” in-app subscriptions of this kind “may be designated as “Newsstand” products, in which case they will appear only within the Newsstand application on your device after download.” For instance, The New York Times could offer a free trial period for its $ 14.99/month in-app subscription to iOS users. You could get the experience of a full subscription for a little while to see if the content is worth your money.

Apple Hints At Free Trials In The App Store With New iTunes Terms And Conditions

Apple introduced in-app subscriptions in February of 2011. Many content publishers now use Newsstand to distribute subscription-based magazines and newspapers to users via the convenience of billing through the iTunes Store. Most titles come with a free issue in order to hook you into a full subscription, so Apple’s new reference to “free trial periods” is likely intended for more than just Newsstand.

There was a rumor last year that Apple was introducing in-app subscriptions for iOS games when Big Fish Games announced that it was bringing the subscription model to its App Store games in conjunction with Apple. The news turned out to be premature, as Apple pulled Big Fish’s subscription-based game from the App Store over Thanksgiving and declined to comment on the action. We haven’t heard anything about in-app subscriptions for iOS games since then.

Now it’s important to note that this new free trial period reference does not mean we’ll start seeing full-fledged free trials for App Store apps. Apple is talking about in-app subscriptions specifically in this instance. Many iPhone and iPad developers have circumvented Apple’s restrictions on app trials by offering ‘lite’ versions of their apps for users to download and try. The experience is far from ideal, but it’s all that can be done at the moment.

But this news does raise an interesting question: How should Apple implement free trials in the App Store? What would you, the user, like to see? If you’re a developer, please get in touch and let us know how in-app subscription trials could be leveraged for different types of apps.

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Apple Newsstand App offers A-list Titles, Opt-in for Publishers

Cult of Mac

Booq Python courier bag protects your DSLR, lenses and iPad in style: Enter to win

Booq makes some amazing bags for laptops, iPads, and the like. Now the accessory manufacturer has introduced the Python courier bag ($ 179.95), a fine-looking bag for photographers who want to also have room to slide in an iPad. Read on for a review of the Python courier and enter for a chance to win this sweet piece of equipment.

Design

Booq’s bags and cases have always had a sleek, modern look to them, and the Python courier is no exception. The exterior of the bag is made of a gray water-repellent 1680 denier ballistic nylon that should hold up to healthy abuse. On the top of the case is a well-padded handle, but the real attraction for photographers will be the wide shoulder strap. That strap comes with a removable pad to keep your shoulder unbruised when you’re lugging a DSLR body and a couple of big lenses.

The Python courier features a flap that can be used to secure the case to the handle of a rolling suitcase. But it’s “what’s inside that counts” with this bag. To protect your delicate camera equipment and lenses from the rigors of travel, the Python courier has a removable padded camera compartment surrounded by two contoured dividers. Booq refers to this compartment as being “densely padded,” and that’s an understatement. The bag itself has good padding in the front and back walls; the camera compartment adds even more protection to the mix.

If you’re wondering what you can carry in terms of camera equipment, Booq says that a DSLR and 2 to 4 lenses can fit into the Python courier. Now remember, the bag also has room for an iPad — or a laptop with dimensions up to 10″ x 7.5″ x .5″. A quick look at the specs for the MacBook Air shows that even the 11″ model isn’t going to fit, so you’ll have to look at another of Booq’s bags if you want to carry a laptop with you.

The zippered iPad pocket doesn’t provide as much protection as the cameras get, but of course you’re getting AppleCare+ for your new baby, aren’t you? Like many of the Booq products, the Python courier has a Terralinq serial number tag affixed to it. Should you lose your bag and have registered the serial number, the Terralinq service might help you get that valuable stuff back to you.

By the way, if you don’t have a DSLR or have suddenly decided that all of your future photography will be done with your iPhone, iPad, and Lytro, you can pull the camera compartment out to turn the Python courier into one big messenger bag. There are a number of other little pockets here and there on the Python; I leave it to our giveaway winner to count them for us.

Functionality

The Booq Python courier has room to spare. As you can see from the gallery images, I was able to stuff two Canon PowerShot IS cameras (sorry, I don’t own a DSLR) into the camera compartment and had plenty of room to spare on top. My iPad 2 slid into the back pocket with ease and I filled the interior pockets with all manner of electronic gadgetry.

With the shoulder pad attached and the bag slung across my body as all good courier bags should be, I was impressed with how comfortable the Python courier was even when fully loaded. It’s also damned good looking, nice whether you’re outfitted in a three-piece tailored suit or wearing jeans and a photographer’s vest.

Conclusion and Giveaway

Booq did good work on the design and construction of the Python courier. For digital photographers who want to protect their equipment and take along an iPad for note-taking or editing work, the bag is perfect. A quick look at several photographic equipment store websites shows that the bag price is right in line with or actually lower than a number of camera-only shoulder bags by Billingham, Arri, Crumpler, Domke, and other camera accessory manufacturers.

We’d like to give this bag away to a loyal TUAW reader. To win, check out the rules and then fill in all the blanks on the entry form below.

The rules are as follows:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, click fill out the form below completely and click the submit button.
  • The entry must be made before Monday, March 12, 2012, 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
  • Prize: A new Booq Python courier bag worth $ 179.95.
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

Good luck!



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple adds army of Korean-speakers to legal team in Samsung patent war

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 05:48 PM EST (02:48 PM PST)
As part of its ongoing patent battle with Samsung, Apple has reportedly hired 73 contract attorneys and 20 reviewers of Korean-American descent to sift through the growing mountain of Korean-language documents provided by the Galaxy Tab maker.

It was revealed on Thursday that the 93 Korean-literate staff members are being contracted by two of the law firms Apple is using to fight its patent war against Samsung in the U.S., with the small army tasked with chewing through the untranslated documents provided by South Korean company, reports FOSS Patent’s Florian Mueller.

Morrison & Foerster and WilmerHale both submitted documents to the ITC declaring that the Korean-speaking recruits have agreed to be bound to a protective order needed for the firms to share documents with the new hires.

WilmerHale, the firm tasked with defending Apple against Samsung patent attacks, filed the declarations of 72 Korean-American contract lawyers and 20 document reviewers that will allow them to take part in the litigation. In addition to cross-contracting six of the lawyers and two reviewers, Morrison & Forrester, which deals with Apple’s patent assertions against the South Korean company, hired a separate Korean-American attorney.

Mueller notes that the newly hired lawyers may not necessarily have backgrounds in patent litigation, and suggests they were hired merely for their ability to read and speak Korean.

The move to take on the temporary staff stems in part from Apple’s claim that Samsung has at times presented hundreds or even thousands of Korean language documents in an untimely manner.

The Cupertino, Calif. company alleges that some of the papers were received a day before deposition, and made it impossible for lawyers to analyze in preparation for testimony.

On Thursday, Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal ruled on an Apple motion which sought an additional deposition of Samsung witnesses who would testify on foreign language documents provided ten days prior to witness deposition, and english documents five days prior. Apple was granted part of its request, and is allowed a second deposition of up to ten witnesses as long as the depositions occur before the end of March.

Judge Grewal added that “”the court strongly encourages Apple to extend the same opportunity to Samsung in those instances in which Apple has produced a substantial volume of documents shortly before, or after, a deposition.”

AppleInsider

Our iPad Has Shipped. Has Yours? [Open Thread]

Our iPad Has Shipped. Has Yours? [Open Thread]

Oh snap! My iPad is leaving China and making its way across the Pacific already. By this time next Friday I’m gonna be getting super intimate with my new iPad’s 3.1million pixels and learning their deep dark secrets.

Has your iPad shipped yet? Or are you one of those unlucky souls in the U.K.? Post a pic of your iPad’s shipment status in the comments so we can all collectively celebrate that Big Jobs in the Sky who is about to rain down a storm of euphoric iPad glory on us come Friday.

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busterheineBuster Heine heads Cult of Mac’s Social Media presence as well as contributes posts as often as he gets around to it. Twitter: twitter.com/bst3r.

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Cult of Mac