So far it has been kind of a disappointing CES 2015 for iPhone and iPad accessories. Most of the announced third party iOS cases and chargers have just been upgrades of already existing products. There have also been a few five-slot power docks, speaker cases and Bluetooth keyboards showcased, but we have seen all that before. Luckily there was one interesting product for the iPad spotted earlier this week.
The Slate by iSketchnote allows you to transfer your pen and paper drawings to your iPad using a Bluetooth connection. Users can place a notebook or a piece of paper on top of the writing platform and the Slate will digitize their sketches or writing in real-time. The platform features a scratch-resistant coating that holds the paper in place, and it is built for mobility only weighing in at 14.1 ounces (400 grams). The Slate is also equipped with a micro SD card and micro USB ports and offers up to 10 hours of battery life.
Like Bigfoot, the "iPad Pro" or "iPad Air Plus" has once again made an unconfirmed appearance, this time in a blurry image originally posted on the French blog Nowhereelse. The picture was allegedly taken by a "reliable" Foxconn factory worker who also leaked some of the first iPhone 6 images in 2014. The image shows a 3D rendering of the rumored large iPad model with holes for stereo speakers.
The tipster also said that the iPad Pro will be will be between 6.9 and 7.5mm thick and that it will feature a screen size between 12.2 and 12.9 inches. The alleged image of the iPad prototype aligns with previous rumors that claim Apple is developing a larger iPad for a possible 2015 release.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) once again dominated the holidays outselling its competitors through December. According to the analytics firm Flurry, 51% of device activations between December 19th and 25th belonged to Apple, while 18% went to Samsung and 6% to Nokia. However, the new year got off to a rocky start as Apple was hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company does not inform its customers how much storage iOS 8 actually eats up on their devices. The case claims "iOS 8 can take up as much as 23.1 percent of the advertised storage capacity" forcing users to buy more storage through Apple's iCloud service, according to Silicon Beat.
“We feel that there are a substantial number of Apple consumers that have been shortchanged, and we’ll be pursuing the claims vigorously,” said William Anderson, a lawyer at Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm.
AT&T and T-Mobile also started issuing refunds after settling with the FCC for adding unauthorized third-party charges to its customers' bills. The practice is known as "mobile cramming," where carriers list bogus fees on a customer's statement for third-party services such as daily horoscopes and dieting tips. AT&T has agreed to pay $105 million in fines and refunds, while T-Mobile settled for $90 million. You can learn how to collect your refund here.
Apple's iTunes Connect reopened on Monday, December 29 after being closed for one week for the holidays. This means there were very few new iPad games and apps released this week. Ace Ferrara & The Dino Menace did manage to makes its way back to the App Store after being pulled due to ownership rights issues. The popular space shooter is available for free for one more day, so make sure you grab it now. The App Store should be back in full swing starting next week after everyone gets over their holiday hangovers.
Here are this week's most noteworthy App Store releases for 12/29/14 to 01/04/15. Apple's Free App of the Week is Icycle: On Thin Ice. The game will be free on the Apple App Store until 01/09/14.
One of the major features that Apple included in iOS 8 is the ability for app-to-app communication, which is done through something called "extensions." Extensions make for a more fluid workflow by letting you access third party app features through native iOS apps. For example, you could add the "Litely" photo editing app's extension to Photos, which would let you access its editing tools directly from your iPad's Photos app, rather than opening Litely and editing from there. Alternate keyboards are another example of extensions. There are plenty of apps that are extendable to Safari as well; we'll use Pocket for this example, which is a handy app that lets you save articles, videos, etc. for later viewing. Here's how you add an extension to Safari:
1. Open your Safari browser and tap the Share/Action button, which is the box with an up arrow in the top right of your screen.
2. On the first level of options (the sharing options), scroll to the right until you get to the "More" icon. Tap it. (Note: Some extensions will be found under the "More" menu in the second row of icons, the "action" options. Pocket happens to be a sharing extension.)
Sony is either involved in one of the craziest stories of 2014, or one of the greatest PR stunts in Hollywood history. Everyone by now knows about the infamous Sony hack, which was linked to North Korea by U.S. investigators, and forced the film The Interview to be pulled from movie theaters. Sony decided instead to release the film to YouTube, Microsoft's Xbox Video and its own HD streaming service over the Christmas holiday. The Interview went on to make $15m in its first three days, and it is now available to rent or purchase through iTunes.
iPad users can rent the film for 48-hours for $5.99 or purchase it for $14.99. The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as producers of a fictional tabloid show called Skylark Tonight. The film pokes fun at the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and resulted in a cyber attack on Sony from a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace. The data breach led to the leaking of confidential information, unreleased films such as the remake of Annie and internal emails from Sony Pictures Entertainment executives. Sony decided to pull The Interview and release it online after threats of attacks on theater chains caused 80% of them to cancel screenings of the film.
Cartwheel is a must have app for all Target customers. It not only offers hundreds of discounts on thousands of items available at any Target retail location, but it is also easy and fun to use. The app basically allows you to shop twice, once on the app and once at the store. Here's how it works...
Download the app for free from the Apple App Store, then set up your personal barcode using Facebook, Target account or Google+. After your account is set up, tap the magnify glass to search for the products you want to purchase at Target and tap the ADD button to add those discounts to your barcode. You can then use your personal barcode at checkout to save money every time you visit Target until the discounts expire.
This will be our last iPad App Store recap of the year since Apple's iTunes Connect will be shutting down December 22-29. We would like to take this time to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy new year! Here are this week's most noteworthy iPad app releases, updates and news for 12/14/14 to 12/20/14. Apple's Free App of the Week is Brushstroke. The photo editing app will be free on the Apple App Store until 12/25/14. Also don't forget to check out our App Store recap every Saturday for all the weekly universal releases, jailbreak tweaks, App Store news and important app updates.
Apple's iPad app of the year, Pixelmator, was updated to version 1.0.2. The update added new features like sliders for opacity, more brushes, new brush sizes and more. The app is available for $9.99 on the App Store.
Microsoft PowerPoint for both the iPad and iPhone has been updated with support for landscape mode. This allows users to edit and view presentations no matter which way they're holding their device.
Reliance Games' new action title, Ultimate Robot Fighting, is now available for iOS and Android devices. Fans of Real Steel will want to check out this new single-player robot fighting game. In URF, you're a human pilot who must fight through 250 robot and boss battles to prove you're the ultimate champion of the ring. The game features 45 cybernetic characters, each with their own personality and own fighting style, to help you take on the sentient AIs who now rule the world of Ultimate Robot Fighting!
The game features plenty of upgrades to help you design the perfect robot fighting team, nine environments, a dynamic day and night cycle, and achievements for winning matches. The game also promises to deliver " intuitive gesture controls, high-resolution 3D graphics, cel-shaded art design and detailed lighting and particle effects".
When you think about it Telltale Games and Mojang kind of make an odd pairing; one creates interactive episodic video games, while the other is the developer behind the most popular free-to-build sandbox game in existence. But that's not stopping the two studios from teaming up to release an "all-new narrative-driven game series" based on Mojang's popular Minecraft title.
In case you didn't already know, Telltale is the developer behind the hit interactive video games based on the popular television shows Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. The developer also recently launched its first series based on a the console game Borderlands. Telltale's games are released in episodes and are akin to a choose your own adventure where the narrative is driven by a players choices instead of their actions. Minecraft: Story Mode will also be an episodic series with its own original story set in the Minecraft world. The game will not be an "add-on for Minecraft, but rather a separate stand-alone product that will premiere in 2015 on consoles, computers and mobile devices," according to the official announcement.