iPad, News/Rumors

Apple launches Arabic, British English and Italian Smart Keyboard layouts for iPad Pro

Apple on Tuesday revealed international versions of its Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro. The accessory lineup now includes international layouts supporting British English, French, Spanish, Korean, Italian and Arabic, among others.

According to the company, The Smart Keyboard will bring new technologies that free users from switches, plugs, and even pairing. It’s a great combination of both utility and portability.

The new international versions of its Smart Keyboard accessory were launched through the company’s regional websites and are available in both 9.7- and 12.9-inch sizes.

The new localized layouts come with a number of differences similar to those available for the company’s Apple Wireless keyboards for Macs, while the new Arabic keyboard adds full support for the right-to-left language on iPad Pro. The Cupertino company has previously revealed a new Arabic version of Apple.com with right-to-left reading support.

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Apple initially announced Smart Keyboard alongside the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in September of 2015.

The Smart Keyboard is already available to purchase on Apple’s website in countries where available in addition to the previous US English layout. The products are priced commensurate to the original version. 

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple launches official iBooks Instagram account, Harry Potter ‘book’ now available in iBookstore

Over the weekend, Apple launched an official Instagram account for the iBooks Store. The company promoted a number of new products including the popular stage script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a script of the play of the same name, which has been in previews at the Palace Theatre in London over the last couple weeks, and made its official world premiere this weekend. This play is based on an original story written by Rowling, and is a result of cooperation between director John Tiffany and writer Jack Thorne. The play tells the story of well known characters Harry, Ron, and Hermione nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The account features a set of still pictures, videos, and quotes. In addition to the new Harry Potter book, the Cupertino company has also created posts for such works like Emma Cline’s The Girls and Ben Winters’ Underground Airlines.

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An interesting thing is none of the posts link directly to the iBooks Store. Instead they contain hashtags and factoids, for example saying that July 31 is Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s 51st birthday.

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The long-awaited eighth instalment in the Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is now available to buy in iBookstore for $14.99. Users from the United States and United Kingdom will be allowed to choose from iBooks,Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google, Kobo, and WHSmith as e-book options.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple working on revamped Apple Store App with ‘For You’ recommendations

Apple is working on a new version of its Apple Store app for iOS that will feature custom recommendations for new products to buy based on purchase history.
According to sources familiar with the project, the updated app may become available in the next two weeks.

The Cupertino company will use a customer’s purchase history to offer additional relevant products for them, a tactic already used by most other online stores including Amazon. The new feature means that if a user purchases a set of Philips Hue lightbulbs, the app may also add other smart lighting HomeKit items to their cart.

According to Bloomberg’s report, Apple may include a dedicated “For You” tab in the Apple Store app. This tab will offer up buy suggestions “based on prior orders.”

“The updated retail app could be rolled out in the next two weeks, according to people familiar with the intended revamp. It’s likely to include a “For You” tab that suggests products based on prior orders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the project isn’t yet public. While there are currently separate Apple Store apps for the iPhone and iPad, the new app will work on both devices and have the same basic features and interface. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.”

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While an official release date has not been announced, Apple is believed to launch the updated version of its mobile app within the next few weeks. Like the current Apple Store app, it will be a universal app that works on both the iPhone and the iPad.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple Music buys James Corden’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ series

Apple has purchased the rights to the James Corden’s viral sensation “Carpool Karaoke” series that started out as a part of The Late Late Show on CBS. 

On The Late Late Show, Corden drives around and sings hit songs with celebrities and public figures, including Michelle Obama, Selena Gomez, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Demi Lovato, Gwen Stefani, and other. 

CBS Television Studios revealed on Tuesday that Apple Music acquired the first-window rights to the upcoming series, which means episodes will appear on the technology company’s streaming music service. The terms of the deal are unclear.

“We love music, and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages,” said Eddy Cue. “It’s a perfect fit for Apple Music — bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favorite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride.”

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According to multiple reports, the Cupertino company has ordered 16 episodes, which will be released weekly once the series is ready. It’s not revealed who will host the new show.

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In addition to Carpool Karaoke, Apple is also working on “Vital Signs,” a semi-autobiographical drama starring Dr. Dre, which will also be used to promote the company’s streaming music service. 

Earlier this month, Apple announced the first TV series that will come to Apple Music: a reality show titled Planet of the Apps, the premise of which centers around app developers trying to make the next Facebook or Pokémon Go. Will.i.am is expected to host the show.

 

iPad, News/Rumors

First images of alleged ‘iPad Pro 2’ surface in China

A couple of new photos reportedly taken by a worker in Apple’s Asian supply chain demonstrate what appears to be the first iteration 12.9-inch iPad Pro, suggesting the Cupertino company is working on a successor model. 

The new pictures were sent to AppleInsider by an anonymous tipster on Sunday, who said the photos originate from a Chinese supplier. The combined photo below demnstrates a device identified with model number MH1C2CD/F, which has yet to be assigned to an iPad by Apple so far.

If the images are indeed legitimate, they offer several clues that suggest the pictured device is a pre-production or prototype unit. For instance, the tablet has only 12 gigabytes of storage, just enough for loading an operating system and apps for internal testing and hardware debugging. The pictures also reveal a build number corresponding to Apple’s latest iOS 10 beta, which was released to developers earlier this summer.

Unfortunately, not much else can be suggested from the shared images.   

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The Cupertino company will certainly be working on a next-generation model of its largest iPad, which is expected to include a faster processor, dubbed A10X, an improved camera and True Tone display technology used in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. 

There are no details on a potential launch timeline, but Apple is believed to announce the next-generation tablet after an anticipated “iPhone 7” debut that same month. The company is also expected to announce thinner and lighter MacBook Pro models this fall, with some rumors suggesting a dynamic OLED touch panel could come as part of a planned redesign. 

Accessories, News/Rumors

Apple to sell 14 country specific Apple Watch bands for this year’s Olympics

Apple has created 14 country specific Apple Watch woven nylon bands for this year’s Olympics.

The bands are designed to reflect the national flags of 14 major competitors at the games and will be available to purchase when the games kick-off in August.

Unfortunately, these limited-edition bands are available at a single store in host city Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The bands are made of the same material as Nylon bands Apple originally introduced earlier this year, meaning the only thing different is the design. The countries included are the USA, Great Britain, The Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, Jamaica, Canada, China, Brazil, Australia, Germany, and France.

The bands are available for $49 each at the Village Mall Apple Store.

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It appears that American sprinter Trayvon Brommel has already got his hands on an early version of the Team USA iteration and took to Twitter to share a picture of the product on Thursday.

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This isn’t the first time the Cupertino company creates limited-edition Apple Watch bands for specific events. Apple introduced a special edition nylon strap last month when the company handed out rainbow bands to employees taking part in LGBT Pride festivals.

Apps Lists, iPhone, News/Rumors

Kinsa debuted Elmo-themed Smart Ear Thermometer with iOS companion app

Kinsa has announced the launch of its Elmo Smart Ear Thermometer and companion application.

The company believes the Elmo Smart Thermometer will help parents not only accurately take their kid’s temperature, but also diagnose the illness.

The Elmo Smart Ear Thermometer needs one-second readings, combines results with acknowledged symptoms from within the companion application, and then uses that info to advise next steps. The accompanying app allows parents to tracks temperatures for each child.

After the temperature reading, the app offers parents to choose symptoms and Elmo will act out each. For example, if they choose “cough,” the device will make the noise of a cough and pronounce, “Excuse Elmo.” If they select fatigue as a symptom, Elmo says “Ahh, tired.”

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Like most traditional ear thermometers, Elmo has a backlit LCD screen that shows the temperature of the kid both in the day or even at night. There is only one large button, one setting, and an easy-to-clean design that helps eliminate the need for probe covers. 

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The companion application lets multiple users manage profiles and track symptoms. To make it easy, parents can customize different profiles with various characters from Sesame Street including Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Bert, and Ernie. Besides, the user can also become a member of a Kinsa group within the app to monitor what common illnesses are circulating around the local communities.

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Kinsa’s Elmo Smart Ear Thermometer is available to purchase on Kinsa’s website. Kinsa’s original Smart Ear Thermometer can also be ordered on Amazon for $49.99, with the Smart Stick Thermometer available at $19.74.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

New iPhone 7 video gives comparison with iPhone 6s

A new video and photos posted to Chinese microblogging site Weibo give a deeper comparison of a purported iPhone 7 unit against Apple’s current flagship iPhone 6s. 

The clip demostrates an iPhone 7 casing (4.7 inch model) that features a larger camera opening on the backside, updated antenna lines, missing headphone jack in lieu of an additional speaker grille. 

In addition, the new camera component is embedded into the metal body with a curved smooth edge. It is also set closer to the corner of the smartphone, while iPhone 6s’s camera is positioned horizontally. The size of the camera hole is also about 25% larger, suggesting that significant upgrades to camera quality are in the cards.

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Besides, the iPhone 7 is expected to come with a new A10 processor and may be given 3GB RAM, up from 2GB in the previous device. Internal storage is also expected to see a boost, with the entry-level devices believed to begin at 32GB instead of 16GB. 

The device comparison allows to suggest that the iPhone 7 will retain the dimensions of the iPhone 6s. 

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Not demonstrated in the clip is the iPhone 7 Plus, which is believed to come with a dual-lens camera with a wider camera cutout. Meantime, the absence of the headphone jack in both devices is also expected to enhance their water resistance.

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If the Cupertino company follows its usual release schedule, the iPhone 7 will likely debut in September.

Apple TV, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple TV adds Comedy Central, MTV and VH1 to universal search

Apple has started adding new apps to the universal search function on the fourth-generation Apple TV, and over the past week 3 more apps have gained support.

According to the company’s support page for universal search, VH1, MTV, and Comedy Central now can be seen in search results. For example, when users pronounce “Siri, show me Jersey Shore,” MTV will now appear in the search results.

For those unfamiliar,  universal search allows users to conduct Siri voice searches or text-based searches to find TV and movie content across a variety of apps. When it was first revealed, universal search supported only several apps, but the Cupertino company has been adding new apps on a regular basis.

Initially, universal search was available for iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and HBO, but soon Apple offered developers access to special universal search APIs.

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Apple haswebpage which contains the list of all apps that support universal search, which has been updated to reflect this week’s new additions.

Early this summer, Apple integrated content from A&E, the Cooking Channel, DIY, Food Network, FYI, HGTV, History, Lifetime and the Travel Channel.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Apple posted developer casting call for ‘Planet of the Apps’ TV show

Apple has posted an open casting call for its upcoming original TV show Planet of the Apps, the unscripted reality series about apps and developers.

The show is currently being co-produced with Propagate, a company reponsible for such projects likeThe Biggest Loser, and Howard T. Owens of MasterChef Junior fame.

The casting call is looking for developers from San Francisco, Austin, New York and Los Angeles to participate. Developers working on an iOS, macOS, tvOS or watchOS app can apply via the show’s website through August 26.

Executive producers will.i.am, Ben Silverman, and Howard Owens are teaming up for an unscripted series about the world of apps and the talented people that drive its innovation. They’re looking for developers with the vision to shape the future, solve real problems, and inspire change within our daily lives. “We can really tell their stories as we explore how apps are developed and created and incubated,” says Silverman.”

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Developers who make it to the final round of the show will also meet with venture capitalists who will be investing up to $10 million. In addition, products featured in the show will also be granted prime placement in the App Store.

Filming will take place in Los Angeles in late 2016 and early 2017.